MacGyver Humidifier

During my trip to Ohio, I noticed an interesting pattern regarding my nighttime headaches. When I stayed with my mom, with the exception of the gluten poisoning night, I didn’t get headaches. When I stayed with my sister, I got headaches. My mom runs a humidifier in the house, whereas my sister doesn’t. Sounds like I just discovered my next test.

Before running out to buy a humidifier, I checked online to see if anyone had built their own. In the description of this video, there is a link to a homemade humidifier from 1918.

1918 Homemade Humidifier

1918 Homemade Humidifier

The premise is you hang a towel down into water. The water will wick up the towel. Air will pass through the towel and humidify the air. At least that is how I understand the theory. My room is very dry right right now. On Tuesday I had a brutal headache, so I decided to try my hand at this project.

MacGyver Humidifier

MacGyver Humidifier

I was skeptical it would work, but after about an hour I could feel the water making its way several inches up the towel. Pretty cool. I really hesitate to get excited, but I had amazing night of sleep last night. Testing will continue.


  1. Jeremy Thompson says

    Hopefully this works and gets rid of those devasting headaches good luck with further testing :)

  2. Jim says

    Maybe put a fan behind it? Also, if it doesn’t work, I think that book has a chapter on the 15-minute humidifier.

  3. Michael says

    I’d do it with a disposable towel, because there’ll be a lot of microbial activity on the towel really quickly.

  4. Tim says

    My grandmother had a house with floor grates where the heat just rises from the vents – no fan on the furnace. I remember her setting metal pans on the grates filled with water. So even with a fan based furnace, you could set bowls of water near your furnace registers and the water vapor would be carried with the warm air.

    i have several open top fish tanks, so that helps humidify my home. I do have to refill them more in the winter for sure! This also is great for the aquarium since they receive fresh water more often – kinda like rain ;)

  5. says

    @Michael – Good idea about avoid microbial activity. I will probably just swap in a new towel every 3 nights.

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